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UJOSS elects new leaders

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Saturday, May 29, 2021

Majak Daniel, Secretary-General of UJOSS (left), Patrick Oyet, President Patrick Oyet and Yangi Justine (right): Photo/Jale Richard/Eye Radio.

The long-awaited General Assembly of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) has elected new leaders.

During the General Assembly of the Union, Oyet Patrick was elected new president, beating two other contestants—Michael Koma and John Wulu Deng.

The new Secretary-General is Majak Kuany who defeated Ruot George and Ibrahim Awol.

The Union also elected Yangi Justine as Treasury.

“John Wulu Deng got 3 votes out of 48. Michael Koma got 6 votes out of 48. And Patrick Oyet got 39 votes out of 48. Therefore, Patrick Oyet as per the results is the president-elect of UJOSS,” announced Sapana Abui, the Director-General of the Media Authority, who officiated the elections on Friday.

The new leaders will serve for five years as per the amended constitution before another election is organized.

The incoming UJOSS president, Patrick Oyet emphasized unity among the journalists.

“To our brothers and sisters who contested and did not make it through, we are still all journalists. We were here to do all these processes democratically, but we have to remain in this union,” Oyet said shortly after he was declared the winner.

Meanwhile, the outgoing leader of UJOSS, Oliver Modi encouraged the new leaders to work with existing government bodies such as the media authority and the security institutions to safeguard journalists.

“These other sections of security, they are all our partners because we as journalists we need protection and security,” Mr. Modi said.

“One of the major protectors of journalists is the general protection by the government to all of us. We need our families to be protected, we need our property to be protected, we need our lives as journalists to be protected.”

UJOSS was founded as a trade union to help champion the rights of journalists, promote professionalism and entrench the rule of law and good governance.

But the outgoing leader says the journey has not been easy as they had to deal with the death of ten journalists killed on duty since 2014.

“We lost our brothers and sisters-beloved ones. It was a tragedy,” Modi stated.

He explained: “The pains that we carried if you are not strong in these chairs, it is another tragedy. But because we are strong, we stood together, we committed, that’s why today media is existing I this country, media is alive, and media is going ahead to educated, inform and entertain the people in this country.”

In this year’s World Press Freedom Index ranking, Reporters Without Borders—RFS, South Sudan ranked number 139 out of 180 countries, dropping a place from last year’s ranking of 138.

It says the years of fighting have weakened the media as they are forced by the government not to cover issues linked to the conflict, making the media very sparing in their reporting on important developments.

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